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To KCNEWF: you are a silly man! Of COURSE you're not going to fall off your trike. If you do, I want to know how that happened!
My piece of advice is to not look down at your pedals as you clip in. Learn to get the feel for the pedals as you position your foot and you clip in. Also, try unclipping before you need to: as you are braking for the light - unclip and rest that foot on top the pedal.
I fell 1 time when I first started using clips. Give yourself permission to lean a new skill! It will take some time before you can unclip without thinking about it.
Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.
I use SPD pedals. I almost always put my right foot down first. One, if there's a curb, that's where it will be. Two, putting my right foot down usually causes me to lean away from the motorists, which seems to put them more at ease. (When I'm at the far left of a lane, I put my left foot down first - same reasons.)
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Practice pedal 20 times left leg only, unclip-20 with right leg, 20 rev both legs. It will take you a few sessions like this and you can get out with either foot.
I started cycling before clipless pedals were common. It always seemed to me that the learning curve was less steep for toe clips and straps than for clipless pedals. With clips and straps beginners left them loose enough to step out easily. Around town where you are more likely to need to stop quickly than sprint we generally left our straps loose. The drawback to clips and straps is if you did tighten them down and had to stop suddenly you had to reach down to loosen the straps before you could get your foot out of your pedal.
I'm not saying that clips and straps are better than clipless. Most of the advantages go the other way but I do think clips and straps are easier to learn.
I noticed something interesting among the cyclists I know. Most of us old timers who started cycling in the toe clip and strap era put our right foot down when we stop. Most cyclists who started cycling with clipless put their left foot down. Not sure why this is the case or even if it is just a coincidence but it always made me wonder what the dynamic was.
Your first post sounds just like my first fall in clipless pedals. I found it scary but with practice in a parking lot it did become second nature....much to my surprise and delight. While getting used to unclipping I did use teflon spray on my clipless pedals for easier unclipping. I also sometimes find it easier to twist toward my bike instead of outward.
...where attention goes, energy flows...
Thanks to everyone for the reassurance!
It's good to know that lots of people fell while learning, and that you all eventually learned this skill (and lived to tell about it). I'm going to keep at it, and will hopefully not have to tip over too many times in order to get this under my belt!
I must strongly disagree with everyone else's experiences about stopping, forgetting to unclip and falling while wearing 'clip less pedals' . . .
I started with my first set of clip less pedals less than 1 month ago and have not fell off my trike while stopping yet!
Yep - been there - have the scars....
Slow motion - always someone watching. Might want to practice in a grassy area.
Ran off the road by a motorist, into the guardrail - Couldn't unclip to stop myself - that one hurt.
Second nature now - it WILL be worth it.
Practice, practice, practice. It does get better, but even after 4 years I fell last year when my right foot wouldn't unclip.
One Day at a Time:
1) 10,000 steps daily
2) fruit & vegie at every meal
3) aerobic or strength train every day
4) 7 hours sleep daily
5) check in with SP daily
June 2014 goals:
1) lose 4 pounds
2) finish walk way
3) finish blocks for Forest Service quilt
4) scan old photos
It's never too late to be what you might have been.
The first year of riding with clipless pedals I feel quite a few times - and ALWAYS in that ridiculous slow motion. You'll get the hang of it. Think of it as a rite of passage.
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If we all did the things we are capabale of doing we would literally astound ourselves.
Please, please note that we, who do clipless, all go through this stage. We clip, we fall. You just have to practice clipping in and clipping out. After a while, it'll be second nature. Hang tough and kiss the "Boo-Boos".
"Excellence is but for the few."
I've recently gotten my first road bike, and I'm getting into the sport as a way of hopefully helping out my knees, which I've recently found out are making their way into osteoarthritis at a fairly young age!
I have also gotten clipless pedals for the first time ever, and went out yesterday for the first time. I've been practicing with them at spin class and with the bike on a trainer, but this was my first real ride. Every cyclist I've spoken to has told me that I WILL fall down when learning clips, and I managed to get through the short ride just fine, until I was back in front of my house. I unclipped my right foot, slowed down, and then for some reason fell to my left side in a ridiculous, slow-motion topple. I made it out ok, and now have a souvenir imprint of the crankset teeth in my leg. ;-)
Does anyone have any reassuring stories on learning to use clipless pedals? I'm feeling super clumsy, and I'm not a terribly confident rider in the first place. I want to learn this so badly, and I'm just hoping that I can manage to learn this without too much damage to the bike or my pride!